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CPA's Love Yoga, Too

CPA's Love Yoga, Too

A busy CPA firm in the Portland area recently hired me to teach a weekly yoga class on-site. They're  crazy busy with tax-preparation work and  decided to offer a lunch-time class from mid-Feb through March to help them manage stress and increase focus and productivity. Smart people!

Here's what it looks like: I teach a class from 12 – 1 PM in a partner's office on Wednesday afternoons. When I get there we move chairs around and make just enough room for everyone to be able to roll out their mats and not bang into each other....most times...Then we do some gentle warm-ups, connect with the breath, sweat a bit, and relax in sivasana (relaxation pose).

I don't know what impresses me more about these folks:
-the fact that they take an hour out of their insanely busy day for yoga,
-their ease and positive attitude about taking a yoga class in a less than conventional setting with file cabinets and a desk nearby instead of cushions, flowing curtains and statues of Hindu gods and goddesses decorating the room, or, 
-the way that their bodies and souls soak up the experience and respond to the breathing, stretching and strengthening. They seriously love it.

It's the last point that I find so satisfying, along with hearing their comments after class: "That felt sooo good." "Oh my goodness...I needed that." "It felt so great to MOVE and BREATHE" and "I can't believe how tight my shoudlers and hips were."   You get the idea.  

You know that common misperception about accountants being boring, highly analytical and shy and that they don't know how to have fun or let loose?  Not true!  These people are vibrant and engaged, they love the experience of being in their bodies, and we laugh and joke and smile. These people have serious heart and soul. They also know they perform better, and probably go home to their families in a better mood, after they take time out to stretch, breathe and basically acknowledge that they're under a great deal of stress and it's in eveyone's best interest -- their clients, their co-workers, their families, etc -- if they take an hour out of their day to refresh and recharge.  Research has demonstrated the benefits of taking breaks during your day; the Mindfulness Based Stress-Reduction (MBSR) program is a shining example of this.   Center for Mindfulness

How about you?  Does your workplace offer yoga or meditation classes on site or is there a studio nearby where you can take a break to recharge and refresh?  Contact me at [email protected]  if you'd like to explore the possibility of bringing mindful movement, yoga and/or meditation to reduce stress and boost performance.  Classes can be tailored to your needs, space, time restrictions, etc.  

P.S. After I wrote this post, an interesting  article ran in the New York Times about Mark Bertolini, CEO of Aetna insurance company, and how he integrates yoga and meditation at Aetna. It includes some impressive statistics on how much more effective employees feel after taking the yoga/meditation classes. Here's a link: Management by Mantra: Aetna's CEO Brings Yoga & Meditation to the Workplace

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